|Quinta do Crasto estate hilltop|
The sun setting behind the hills that make up the Quinta do Crasto estate.
|Check out that view over the Douro River|
|Andrea, our amazing host at Crasto and Miguel our steadfast guide.|
|The Maria Theresa vineyard just below the estate buildings at Quinta do Crasto|
|Tasting grapes in the vineyard.|
|Barriques in the lagares and stacked off to the side.|
|Fermentation and blending tanks.|
|The new barrel room, all walls, columns and stacking structures are black.|
|Racking barrels in the new barrel room.|
|The estate home at Quinta do Crasto.|
|The amazing infinity pool.|
|Fresh ingredients for dinner that evening.|
|The family style dinner table,|
Below are the tasting notes for the wines we tasted during our first visit to Crasto.
2012 Douro Branco
Made from traditional Douro white grape varieties Gouveio, Roupeiro and Rabigato, this wine was pale straw in color; waxy lemon notes, flowers and a touch of honey in the nose. The palate is fresh, clean, stony and chalky, with bright citrus lemons.
Made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Sousao, this wine has a very dark core. The Sousao grape is a red fleshed grape that contributes to that additional depth of color. It spends 1 year in 2nd use French oak barrels. Blackberry, black cherry, licorice, Asian spices, and meaty notes rise from the glass. Fresh and clean, there is good depth, medium+ tannin, with a long and persistent finish for the class this wine lives in.
2010 Riserva Old Vines
The Riserva was open for 2.5 hours when we tasted it. Crafted from vines averaging 70 years this is a classy and elegant wine; beautiful, with great persistency and balance. This is an outstanding wine of aristocratic nobility. Impeccably balanced, fresh and long in the finish. Black cherry, creme d'cassis, and subtle oak notes meld well in the palate. The flavors stretch on for what seems a very long time. The Riserva will age nicely in bottle for 10-15 years depending on the vintage.
A red core with lighter red edges, this wine was in a real sweet spot for drinking. Mature notes of dry red fruits, haunting forest floor, cigar wrapper, cedar, and a mild oak influence, it was so open and broad, complex, yet finely elegant. Good depth, persistency and excellent oak integration. This is a world class wine, refined. So easy to enjoy and savor, the flavors unfold in layers over the palate.
From the oldest vines on the estate averaging 98 years old, the fruit from these vines is minimal, yet excellent in quality. The wine is not made every year, but only in excellent years when the character of the vineyard rises to levels above the rest of the estate old vines. The name Maria Theresa came from the daughter of the prior family that owned Crasto. 1998 was the first vintage and has only been made in 6 vintages since then. The 2007 was aged in 15% American oak barrels and the rest in new French oak barrels. The 2009 was aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 20 months. A dark ruby core, with vibrant red edges. Coaxing the nose brings out black and blue berries, cherry, charcoal, licorice, and earth tone aromas. You can barely notice the oak but for a hint of creaminess and roundness on the palate. This was really big on the palate with tons of complexity. It sailed on to a fine and elegant finish that was long and clean.
This was newly bottled 1 week prior to our tasting but one would never know it from what we tasted. Violets and purple flowers, pepper and spice, savory herbal notes. Fresh and powerful, this attacks the palate with intensity and opens nicely across the palate, giving way to a long palate staining port experience. A huge bargain, this is one to seek out for more frequent consumption.